What a great week I had. First, I flew up to NorCal and spent Thanksgiving (plus a few days more) with my daughter Diane. I also got to hang out with her hubby Sam and their adorable doggos Rory and Lily. Lily is a puppy and needed some time to get used to me, but once she did she was so sweet! We had all kinds of yummy food, colored, and played a bunch of board games. We watched movies too: King Richard, 8-Bit Christmas, and Red Notice. We didn’t go anywhere, just enjoyed being together and cuddling with the puppies. I think I had a slice of pumpkin pie every day, which is what happens when you buy the enormous one from Costco.
When I returned, it was time to celebrate Chanukah with my daughter Sharon, her hubby, and their kids. It was a lot of fun to play with my grands and walk over to the Pico carnival. Sharon’s in-laws joined us as well. We had donuts and latkes and pizza, which were all delicious, and we lit the menorah after sundown. On my way home, I stopped at a restaurant where friends were having dinner and managed to squeeze in one more game before my vacation ended. I love my job, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break, especially when I get to see my favorite peeps!
It’s been a while since I posted for the Weekend Sky prompt. The sunsets have been meh is why. This one is pretty though, and if you zoom in you can see a plane. It just took off from JWA to an exotic locale. Or so I imagine…
I stood alone at the empty carousel. It had finished spinning out the bags from my flight and mine wasn’t among them. I glanced at the people around me–they were busily texting and briskly wheeling their suitcases outdoors toward ground transportation.
“What did it look like?” The friendly customer service rep was trying to help me find my lost bag as I waited in her office.
I was a little embarrassed. “It was small. And green. With um bright flowers all over it.”
She smiled. “Oh! We have it here. I’m sorry but it seems to have come apart a bit, so we kept it safe.”
“That’s the one.” There was no mistaking the unique floral case the rep brought out from the back. It had been shabby to start with, but now the handle was dangling off and one side was shredded. “It was my mother’s. I guess I’ve had a hard time letting it go.”
“I understand. I could tape it up as a temporary solution.”
As I watched, I thought of the broken vase and the lost earring and the other disappearing mementos. They would all be gone eventually, except for the ones in my heart.
During the height of the pandemic, to what extent did you avail yourself of online shopping for meals, groceries, and other goods and services? If you did use online shopping and delivery services, now that things have eased up a bit, has your reliance on or use of such service continued at the same rate, increased, or decreased. To what extent?
In March of 2020, when we all realized that Covid was a bfd, I stayed home from work for a while and was terrified to go out, touch anything, or breathe. While I had been ordering miscellaneous stuff online for years (vitamins, clothes, gifts, etc.), I had never used grocery or meal delivery services. I tried to set up grocery delivery during the beginning of the lockdown and every attempt failed ~ through Amazon, Target, and Vons. I’d load up a virtual cart only to be told at checkout that none of the items were actually available and/or that there were no delivery times available. It was incredibly frustrating.
So I kept going to the grocery store. I went super early, the minute they opened, and hurried through, masked of course, trying to touch as little as possible. When I got home, I swiped everything with alcohol wipes, including my steering wheel, purse, keys, credit card, and all the groceries. It was completely nucking futz. Naturally, I was extremely relieved when it turned out we didn’t have to do any of that alcohol wiping.
But as far as shopping during the worst of Covid (assuming the worst is over!), I basically carried on as usual. I went to meatspace stores to buy things I needed that I couldn’t get online. The above pic is from a farmers’ market outing with friends. We felt relatively safe outdoors, though we wore masks even at the beach, which in my opinion is an enormous pain. I hate masks. They are hot and annoying, and they make my glasses slip off. My glasses actually fell off and broke at one point (in my office building) and are currently held together with superglue. Yes, I understand this is minor compared to being on a ventilator, thanks.
I’m triple vaxxed now and lately I’ve been doing whatever ~ restaurants, movies, game nights indoors, etc. I will be flying to NorCal in November to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law. Last year I drove, but ugh… 7 hours in the car is really painful for my back. I feel safer now that I’ve had so many vaccines (not just for Covid but also for the flu and shingles), and California has a high percentage of sensible people who are fully vaxxed as well. I don’t always love living here with the ridiculous taxes and cost of housing, but I am grateful for the way most of us in this state have behaved during the pandemic.
I haven’t done one of these #5things posts since my refresh, but I can’t resist listing some fall faves, not to mention having an excuse to use this fun image in homage to the first line of “Hotel California.” Thanks, Dr. Tanya, for the prompt.
1. While I adore the summer sun and warmth, I am much more productive when there’s less daylight. Why? I dunno. I’ve already started working on another half-finished book that’s been languishing on Google Drive. This makes me happy!
2. Pumpkin everything. Bring it on, haters! Er, not the oatmeal… that was disgusting. But pumpkin spiced coffee, cookies, cupcakes, and pie? Hell yeah!
So weird to realize that half of 2021 will be over in a few days! Life is sure whizzing by like a roller coaster, and speaking of that, Melanie has some new questions for us…
What do you think of the idea of the ‘greater good’ principle?
Mostly meh. As John said, who decides? My favorite is when the PTB tell us little people to inconvenience ourselves for “the common good,” but then they still travel by private plane and lavishly water their lush gardens. Some dopey billionaires are now racing to be the first in space travel… how many resources will that use up? But I’m supposed to take only a 3-minute shower. Eff that!
Do you enjoy riding a roller coaster or other amusement park type ride?
No, I hate them all because of my chronic owies and also they’re terribly unsafe. Every year, there are serious accidents from theme park rides, and the parks go to great lengths to cover that up, but sometimes the news sneaks through.
Which musical instrument is the most annoying to you personally?
I like them all unless they’re blazingly loud. I don’t mind the ones others hate, such as bagpipes or accordions… long as the volume is reasonable.
Would you rather have a vivid imagination or a photographic memory if you had to choose just one?
I had an moderately accurate eidetic memory when I was young ~ it’s how I smashed every test that required memorization. All I had to do was recall the page of the book or notes the text was written on and I could “see” the answer. I still have a good memory for names and numbers, but it’s not what it was and I miss that. Since I already have a vivid imagination, I’ll take my eidetic (photographic) memory back please.
Feel free to share fun plans for this season that you might have. Especially now that many places are lifting restrictions and travel is a bit easier.
I recently rejoined Meetup, attended a fun lunch, and have several more events scheduled. These aren’t board game related groups like I belonged to in the past, but simply conversation and noms. I’ll be traveling to San Diego by train in a few weeks with a group for the day, and I’m really looking forward to that!
My daddy was no Elvis, but he sure liked singing along to the King’s music as he wandered from town to town, hitching rides on boxcars, destination Bangor, Maine. Sometimes he’d do a couple hours labor and make enough to buy a cheap motel room, no phone, no pool, no pets, but he had enough for a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of cheap whiskey.
That’s how he met my mom. She worked in the liquor store across the street from that motel in Bangor, and it was the end of her shift. They chatted for a while outside and ended up back in his room.
“You do this a lot?” he asked.
“Only a time or two,” she said.
They had their rendezvous, and he hopped a train the next day. Six weeks later, my mom discovered he had left her a present and tracked him down. She found him at the end of Lonely Street, called her daddy to meet her, and they knocked on his door.
“You’ll marry my daughter or else,” my grandpa said as he waved his gun at my daddy.
“Yes sir,” my daddy said. “Go find a minister and I’ll get dressed.”
But instead of getting dressed, my daddy jumped off the roof, which is why they call it the Heartbreak Hotel.
My mom went back home to her parents, and that’s where I was born, but she was never happy in Maine again. We began to wander like my daddy had, staying for a time in various small towns while Mom found a little work, and then moving on again.
We traveled around the midwest and back; by the time I was in high school we were living off aid because employers didn’t care for my mom’s perfume: eau de booze. That winter of my junior year we were staying at a crappy motel halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh, when one Tuesday I got home from school and couldn’t wake her up. She’d mixed a bottle of sleeping pills with her gin. She was my mother and I loved her, but she put me through hell. I grabbed my things and got out of there before the authorities could take me from the Bittersweet Motel.
Then I began my own journey and some of it’s a bit hazy in my mind right now. I know I headed west; the East Coast had nothing for me but heartache and pain. I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to end up on that desert highway, cool wind in my hair, but the important thing is that I got here. I knew when I saw her in the doorway as the mission bell rang that I had found my way home again.
There’s plenty of room at the Hotel California. They have a nice courtyard where we dance every night. There are mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice… honestly, it’s pretty fancy, and I’ve never received a bill. I’m not sure where my car is though, since I can’t find a door to the outside, but I’ll look again tomorrow. I’m tired now.
I don’t always answer questions these days, but when I do… they are interesting ones! Here are my replies to Rory’s latest asks in his 12 Bloggers series.
1.Have you learned anything during the pandemic and especially the lockdowns that has changed your outlook on you, your life and or your personality that is truly significant?
Yes. I used to believe I was a true introvert who could be content not having any social life whatsoever, but that turns out to be false. What I liked was having social options, most of which I rejected, but the idea was that they existed if I wanted them. When they all disappeared, I missed them. I was so lonely last Spring, I returned to Facebook to have more people to interact with! And now that I can get together with people face to face, I am really enjoying it. But I still don’t accept more than 2 social events per week because ugh. There’s a good article in Psychology Today about people like me ~ we are called “outgoing introverts,” meaning we can be the life of the party when we want to, but we also need a lot of alone time to recharge.
2.In your ideal world or lifestyle, how much sleep do you think you really need to function at your most optimum level and more importantly – do you get your desired amount daily?
I do well with 6 hours of sleep and I usually get about that. If it’s broken up, I’ll need a bit more.
3.Are you a thinker, a deep thinker or an active overthinker and if so what do you think about the most and for how long do you need to ‘think’ on a problem before you reach a satisfactory resolve or what steps do you undertake to not think as much?
This question is too general to be meaningful. My thinking process entirely depends on the situation. Sometimes I overthink, while other times I respond immediately. I probably am not what one would term a “deep thinker,” since I get too bored with any particular topic to explore it thoroughly. I like flitting around various subjects, landing on one for a little while, and then moving on. One thing I strive for is consistency, but that can be difficult to attain perfectly.
4.What are you most terrified of today?
That the DMV will have no record of my appointment when I show up this afternoon and I’ll have to sit there for a hundred years.
5.What do you do for fun or excitement to fill your day/days or week?
I am content with a quiet, simple life of work, writing, reading, and games. I don’t need any more excitement beyond the daily Solitaire challenges.
6.What is one of the most important features people should know about you?
I’ll probably say no to whatever thing you ask of me, unless I’ve given birth to you or you’re signing my paycheck. Ideally, both, lol.
7.Whilst in recent times much of life has appeared gloomy and doomed – in the last 15 months or so, what have been 3 really good things to happen in your life?
I met my new grandson. I began playing Dixit online. I bought a condo.
8.How often do you watch old television series and if you do, what makes for a good viewing on older content in your eyes and do you find that time relaxing?
Pretty much never now. They’re not as good as I imagine they were. I was super disappointed in That Girl, I Dream of Jeannie, Match Game, One Day at a Time, etc.
9.How often do you use herbs in your cooking and which ones are your most favourited and why?
I like basil and sea salt. Why? Because they taste good! But mostly I do not cook…
10. How confident are you about taking a vacation/holiday to another destination that would involve air travel?
Pretty confident. I am going to book a flight to Northern California for Thanksgiving soon. But I never have been a big traveler and I don’t intend to start. It’s too expensive and too disruptive to the routines I enjoy. Plus, with chronic back pain and frequent migraines, I wouldn’t have much fun, so why spend the money?
11. Are you a tidy or a messy or somewhere inbetween type of person?
I think of myself as average, but in fact I seem to be tidier than almost everyone else. I don’t often do a deep cleaning because of my backaches, but everything is in its proper place.
12. What is the most useless product you have ever bought unwittingly or accidentally thinking it was more practical than it actually was?
Oh lots! I bought a cheapo carpet/upholstery steamer a few years ago and it was a complete dud. I have a whole mop floor cleaning kit, but it’s a pain to use, so I mostly just vacuum. I’ve bought a lot of doodads for my hair I never wear. And probably the dumbest thing I’ve purchased was a cake pan in the shape of a flower. The “petals” are on the top, so if you frost the cake, they disappear. What the hell is the point of that? No one wants an unfrosted cake!
Last weekend I drove up to Alameda to spend a few days with my daughter Diane and her hubby Sam, plus their critters Rory and Zizi. I stopped frequently to stretch my legs so my back would not freeze up. Took me more than 8 hours (supposed to be about 6.5), but I was okay with that.
Friday night we ordered a strange pizza with ricotta cheese blobs… Diane and I loved it! Sam, not so much.
To get even for the pizza, Sam kicked our butts at Scrabble. Next, we decided to watch a movie and chose Out of Africa. None of us liked it much, and Rory woofed at the doggie on screen. I fell asleep and we didn’t finish the film. Got a good night’s rest without being awakened by Gatsby’s howls.
On Saturday, we went to a mall in Walnut Creek to mosey around (everyone masked). Then we headed to lunch at Kabab Burgers in Lafayette. Everything was crowded, so we took our lunches to Sam’s parents’ house in Orinda.
Omg so delicious! The food was excellent and it was a beautiful day to dine al fresco. Then, the real adventure began. The lovely Orinda house is secluded in a gorgeous woodsy area, and I asked Sam where this path led I saw from the porch. He said there was a tiny old wooden schoolhouse back in the forest from like 100 years ago. Of course, Diane and I wanted to go see it. Sam led the way…
Turned out there wasn’t much of a path and we had to hack our way through the wilderness like explorers in the Amazon. There were birds and bugs and probably salamanders, toads, and snakes. Bobcats and bears too! Finally, after an arduous 7 minutes or so of intense hiking, we found the schoolhouse.
But two things happened simultaneously. One, we saw that the building had collapsed into a pile of rotting wood. You couldn’t even tell what kind of structure it had been. Sad. Two, I lost my phone somewhere in the jungle. Oh no! Sam said we’d find it and not to worry. He took a pic of Dee and me with his phone.
We began to trace our steps back and search for my phone. Nothing. I looked around and realized what a vast woods it was, teeming with life. An eagle could have already swooped in and taken my phone, or a rattlesnake might have eaten it, or it could have sunk in a pile of quicksand. I was starting to panic in a major way. How would I get home sans GPS? What about my Scrabble games in progress? I’d miss out on all the Messenger chats! But then Dee called my number and it rang. Sam spotted my phone going off in a patch of leaves and handed it to me. Whew! What a relief!
We headed home and proceeded to play board games: Carcassonne, the Castles of Mad King Ludwig, and Ticket to Ride. I lost all of them. I wasn’t too hungry that night because of the big lunch, but I managed to try my pre-birthday cake and pie selections.
There was carrot cake and red velvet cake, both with scrumptious cream cheese frosting, and there was my favorite pie… key lime in a graham cracker crust. So yummy! No movies that night; we all read books on Kindle. Sunday morning I slept in even later and had cookies for breakfast. Lunch was a variety of dim sum (delivered) and later we took a walk with Rory.
We saw lots of ducks and geese on the other side of the island, but it was windy and freezing, so we stayed out only a short time. Warmed up at home with some wine and baked brie, plus two rounds of Catan and two rounds of Lanterns (lost all, keeping my streak going). Doggo was happy to be back in her cozy bed.
Kitty is older and not feeling well, so she mostly stays snuggled in a soft blanket. Poor sweetie. Sunday night came around so quickly… and then Monday morning when I headed back down south. Easy-peasy trip home with little traffic and a bit of drizzle in the middle of the journey. Visits with family are always too short! Already planning to return for Turkey Day. Hopefully I will get a chance to redeem myself at board games… will practice on friends in the meantime.
I chose Roger Whittaker’s song for this week’s prompt. His deep, intense voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the passionate lyrics of “The Last Farewell.” You can feel his sadness as he prepares to leave his love and do his duty for his country. I’m not inclined to copypasta lyrics these days, but you can clearly hear them in the wonderful video below.
Roger hosted a British radio program where he created songs from ideas sent to him. “The Last Farewell” was a poem from Ron Webster, a silversmith, and Roger recorded it in 1971. The song played on the radio and was also included in Whittaker’s 1971 album New World in the Morning. The song is one of only 50 to have sold 10 million+ copies worldwide (Wikipedia).
Interesting that the two men have the same initials…